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Eddie Trunk Interview

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Eddie Trunk

Eddie Trunk

VH-1 Classic
Updated April 19, 2011
When it comes to flying the flag for classic hard rock and heavy metal, nobody flies it higher and prouder than Eddie Trunk. He has become the king of metal media, with That Metal Show on TV, radio shows on both terrestrial and satellite stations, a popular website, and now a book. Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal has just been released. A lot of times people that conduct a lot of interviews aren't as comfortable when the tables are turned. Not so with Trunk. We had a great conversaton about the new season of That Metal Show, the book, his friend Chris Jericho being on Dancing With The Stars and other subjects.

Chad Bowar: This is the second season with the hour long format. Do you prefer that to the 30 minute shows?
Eddie Trunk: God, yes. It's something I was lobbying for since day one of the show. It took five seasons to get there. With the hour-long format, the show now in its current form is much closer to what I envisioned it being. It gives us breathing room, opportunities to do stuff with just the three of us, and it's a really cool dynamic to have two different guests and a guitar player to play us into breaks. It's a much more realized talk show format now.

You did the first few seasons in New York, and the last few in Los Angeles. Is the plan to stay in L.A., or move back and forth?
We did the first four strips of shows in New York, which is our home base. But when we moved the show to Los Angeles it made the booking process remarkably easier. 90 percent of these guys are out there. That's a part of the show off-air that I'm heavily involved in because of my relationship with these artists. But to answer your question, I don't know. The decision is up to the network. They asked me where I prefer to work, and I said L.A. It makes it easier.

Do you have the budget to be able to do a season from someplace like London?
It's funny you ask that, because we actually have knocked that idea around. We would love to do that. I know the executive producer of the show has said a number of times that it would be a great scenario that she'd love to see happen, too. She's the one who can make it happen. But it all comes down to money. In a perfect world I'd love for the show to have new episodes 40 or 50 weeks a year, have live performances, specials, countless things. The sky's the limit for me, but it all comes down to what makes sense, budgetwise.

Currently we do two shows in one day, so even though we go to L.A., we're only there for a little over a week and we do an entire season of 8 or 9 shows. It's a short period of time where we do a whole run of shows, then they roll out over the course of a couple months, then repeats for a month or two and we start again. I wouldn't ever rule out doing the show in New York again, I would love to do London. London is very intriguing because there's a lot of guys we'd like to get there. We had interest this last season from Jimmy Page, Brian May, Tony Iommi, all these guys who live in the UK.

What are some of the highlights from this season of That Metal Show?
One of the things we did for the first time this season is bring back guests from previous shows. Ace Frehley, Duff McKagan and Lita Ford are back. It's cool to revisit our old friends. There are an equal amount of first-timers. Kirk Hammett (Metallica) was a major score. We also have David Coverdale, Sebastian Bach, Carmine Appice and a lot more.

The U.S. “Big 4” show with Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax is coming up later this month. Any plans to cover for either the TV or radio show?
I don't know. On the radio side it's a little difficult because it doesn't synch up with the time my show is on for me to be able to do a live remote. All those artists I could get to be on the show on any given time, so to do a radio show from there would be difficult. I would love to do a special from there for That Metal Show, but it all comes down to clearances and access. If the network is not able to get the access they want on site and commitments from the artists to do what they want them to do, they aren't going to spend the money to do it. It's still up in the air whether it will happen.

Will prior seasons of That Metal Show be released on DVD?
Another question that I've asked and wanted since day one. It's completely in the hands of VH-1. I don't have anything to do with that decision. Fans ask me all the time. There's a ton of footage that was cut out of shows, especially the half-hour shows, that would make for great extras. VH-1 owns the show and the video rights, so it's solely up to them. I'd love to see it happen, love to do some commentary.

One of the reasons I've heard it hasn't happened it that our show is now international. In the past year and a half our show has rolled out to a bunch of countries. They are behind in the seasons compared to the U.S., so one of the concerns is that if it's out there on DVD it will hurt the international clearance of the show. Maybe after 3 or 4 seasons have aired everywhere, then maybe you'll see them on DVD.

How did the idea for the book come about?
The book is called Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. I've always wanted to do a book, specifically an autobiography. But to be totally honest, to do a completely real and raw autobiography, it would be hard to still be in this business. I've tabled that until some day when I'm retired, which won't be for a while. I was approached by a publisher, and they were interested in doing a book on hard rock and heavy metal. An old friend of mine had just done a book for them with photos of Ryan Adams. They told him they were thinking about doing a book on rock and metal, and he put us touch. When I met with them, I learned that the publisher doesn't do autobiographies, that Abrams is known for very high-quality coffee table type, photo driven books.

The initial plan was for me to do a book that was artists I picked, great photos of them, and a few sentences of what I thought under the photos. Once I started getting into it, they heard some of my stories and insights and kept asking for more text. And all of a sudden what was supposed to be predominantly a photo book turned into this hybrid of half text and stories, half photos. It became much better. To me there's a lot more story in there, more to sink your teeth into. There are 35 chapters on the bands I love and a lot of personal stories. There are playlists of my favorite songs for every band, “did you know?” type things, and the photos tie in amazingly with the stories. It was a great experience. Abrams did a tremendous job putting it all together. The quality is phenomenal, especially at that price point. The book is under 20 bucks.

You're doing a bunch of book signings. Are you looking forward to getting out and meeting some of your fans?
Yes, I really am. I've been working in the music industry in some capacity for coming up on 30 years. In anything I've done, people are so appreciative. I've gained respect from the audience, and it really floors me. I don't ever feel like anything more than a fan who got really lucky doing what they love and making a living at it. I'm genuinely flattered and grateful when people ask me to take a photo with them or sign something for them. I get a great sense of accomplishment out of that, because I don't consider myself any different than them. I'm lucky and blessed.

What do you think about your friend Chris Jericho's appearance on Dancing With The Stars?
Chris told me about it a month or so before it became public. He's a close friend and a great guy. He's a huge metal fan. He's also an entertainer. I completely understand why he did Dancing With The Stars. It's one of the biggest shows on TV, it's a nice payday. He's best known as a professional wrestler and wants to cross over to a new audience. He's an entertainer and wants to reach more people. I wish him all the luck in the world. He told me it's very difficult. He's putting a lot into it. We're all going to have our fun with him and take our shots at him. He knows that. Most people offered that opportunity wouldn't turn it down.

I got some heat from some fans because I was critical of Steven Tyler doing American Idol. They said I was being supportive of Jericho because he's your buddy. That's not the case. I love Chris, but you can't put Chris in the same category as an American rock icon. It's a different thing. You have a guy who is a pro wrestler trying to branch out into other things. The other guy is, in my view, one of the two or three greatest rockers in history, an icon, and he's doing a talent contest. Steven Tyler can do whatever he wants, he doesn't need my approval, but that's why it bothered me. I grew up with posters of Aerosmith on my wall. They are in a whole different stratosphere than Chris Jericho. I don't see how you could call it the same thing.

Anything else you'd like to mention?
I'm really excited that the TV show is doing as well as it has been, and it's finding new audience all the time in America and internationally. The book is a whole new chapter for me to delve into, and I'm looking forward to getting it out there and see where it takes me.

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